There's a new No. 1 in Week 5's FCS quarterback rankings, with only two new entrants into the top 10.
Each week, I review the games, highlights and stats to create this top-10 list that ranks the best FCS quarterbacks. This top-10 FCS quarterback ranking evaluates quarterbacks from their performances this season, factoring in every game. Here are some — not all — of the criteria evaluated:
- Counting stats (yards and touchdowns)
- Completion percentage
- Quality of competition
- Performance under pressure
- Rushing ability
Here's the top 10 for Week 5:
The top 10 FCS quarterbacks entering Week 5
1. Tim DeMorat | Fordham | Prev: 2
Tim DeMorat takes over the top spot for the first time this year in the FCS quarterback rankings. DeMorat left it all out on the field against FBS opponent Ohio, finishing the game with 461 yards and seven touchdowns on 27-of-35 passing (77 percent) in a 59-52 loss. DeMorat's push to lead Fordham into field-goal range for a potential game-winner wasn't helped by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on head coach Joe Conlin after the Rams were flagged for holding. Despite that, DeMorat's performance against FBS competition earned him the top spot.
2. Shedeur Sanders | Jackson State | Prev: 3
Another week, another solid performance for Shedeur Sanders as the Jackson State signal-caller threw for 438 yards and four touchdowns, completing 40-of-51 passes (78 percent). Sanders did throw his first interception of the season, but a 14:1 touchdown-interception ratio with a 75 percent completion percentage is still one of the top marks in the nation.
3. Lindsey Scott Jr. | UIW | Prev: 1
Lindsey Scott Jr. falls from the top spot after he and UIW lost to Southeastern Louisiana. With the top three spots being neck-and-neck throughout the start of the season, one small mistake is enough to separate the three. However, while some may think UIW's loss is what knocks Scott down the list, it's not.
A fourth-quarter interception is what knocks Scott down the list. Driving in Southeastern Louisiana territory, Scott threw an interception in the end zone with 5:27 to play. While Scott ended up redeeming himself to tie the game later, that pass was enough to drop Scott in a close race for the top.
4. Nolan Henderson | Delaware | Prev: 5
Nolan Henderson completed 30-of-43 passes (70 percent) for 296 yards and five touchdowns as he continues his ascent up the rankings. Henderson has Delaware looking like one of the best teams in the country, and with more performance like last week, Henderson could soon place himself in the conversation with the top three.
5. Matthew Sluka | Holy Cross | Prev: 6
Two touchdowns on the ground. Two touchdowns through the air. Matthew Sluka continues to show that no matter what, he's going to find the end zone. Sluka continues to play well as Holy Cross remains undefeated.
6. Jason Shelley | Missouri State | Prev: 4
Jason Shelley struggled against No. 3 South Dakota State in a top-five matchup, leading the offense to just 14 points after being held scoreless in the first half. Shelley played well in the third quarter to get the score tied at 14, but couldn't come up with the plays needed down the stretch against South Dakota State, one of the best defenses in the FCS.
7. Lucas Johnson | Montana | Prev: 7
Lucas Johnson completed 20-of-26 passes (77 percent) for 221 yards and two touchdowns, adding another score on the ground. Johnson has Montana beating opponents by an average of 34 points per game. He continues to look like an X-factor on offense that plays perfectly alongside the second-best scoring defense in the FCS.
There is a gap entering Week 5 between the top seven FCS quarterbacks and the rest of the top 10. The top seven have been more consistent with more impressive performances all season long. Nonetheless, here's the rest of the top 10.
8. Mike DiLiello | Austin Peay | Prev: NR
Mike DiLiello makes his debut in the top 10 quarterback rankings after helping lead Austin Peay to a 4-1 start. In a ranked win over Eastern Kentucky and former top 10 quarterback Parker McKinney, DiLiello accounted for four touchdowns, three on the ground. On the season, DiLiello is the nation's eighth-leading passer, but also has six rushing touchdowns — the second-most in the FCS — as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks nationwide.
HBCU POWER RANKINGS: See the latest HBCU football power rankings
9. Gunner Talkington | Eastern Washington | Prev: 10
Gunner Talkington tried his hardest to lead a fourth-quarter comeback against No. 4 Montana State, but fell short despite throwing two fourth-quarter touchdowns to take the lead with 9:24 to play. Although Talkington and the Eagles lost, Talkington showed that you can't count the Eagles out late in the game.
10. Michael Hiers | Samford | Prev: NR
Michael Hiers makes his return to the top 10 after dropping out over recent weeks. Hiers completed 24 of 30 passes (80 percent) for 292 yards and four touchdowns, throwing just one interception against Western Carolina. Hiers helped Samford get out to a big lead against an opposing explosive offense, putting the game out of reach by the third quarter. He'll face a big test next against Furman and its ninth-leading pass efficiency defense.
Here are the next QBs just outside the top 10:
(listed alphabetically by last name)
- Kasim Hill | Rhode Island
- Tommy Mellot or Sean Chambers | Montana State
- Matthew McKay | Elon
- Parker McKinney | Eastern Kentucky
- Fred Payton | Mercer;
- Davius Richard | NC Central
- Connor Watkins | Villanova
- Zion Webb | Jacksonville State
- Darius Wilson | William & Mary
- Dresser Winn | UT Martin
Parker McKinney and Darius Wilson drop from the top 10 after second-half collapses. McKinney and Eastern Kentucky blew a 20-3 halftime lead, going scoreless in the second half. In the fourth quarter, Wilson and William & Mary went 3-and-out on three straight fourth-quarter drives as Elon overcame a 15-point lead. Speaking of Elon, watch out for Matthew McKay as he's approaching the top 10 after leading Elon to the comeback win.
UPSETS: See every FCS-over-FBS upset
One of the new entrants into the top 20 this week is Montana State's quarterback combination. Tommy Mellott and Sean Chambers have each played significant snaps throughout the season and have played well enough to be inside the top 20. However, both taking snaps prevents either quarterback from rising higher on the list. With Tommy Mellott out with an injury in Week 5, Chambers may be able to rise if he plays well, taking all of the snaps.
Abilene Christian's Maverick McIvor drops from the top 20 after being benched against a Division II program. Western Carolina's Carlos Davis and Bryant's Zevi Eckhaus also fell out of the top 20 after failing to throw touchdowns last week.